Soda Bread is kind of like a fancy Australian Damper cross with an Australian/UK Scone. I keep writing 'Australian' because a scone here (and in the UK) is not the same thing as what a scone is in the US. This kind of quick rise bread isn't the same as a kneaded yeast risen loaf, it gets it's lift from the acid in the buttermilk or yoghurt reacting with bicarb soda creating air and small bubbles - hence the name, Soda Bread. This fancied up Soda Bread has balsamic caramelised onions strewn throughout and like a match made in heaven, pairs perfectly with some strong vintage cheddar or a sharp blue as it has a sweetness to it that complements savoury things... like a good in-built quince or fig paste. Mmmm my mouth is watering as I write this.
My photography doesn't look much cop and agree with you if you're thinking right now 'why on earth is she going on about this rock-like-thing-on-a-baking-tray?!?' but trust me. This will be one of the easiest breads you'll probably ever make and be one of the most perfect additions to your next cheese platter cut into wedges, just waiting to be topped with a hefty chunk of cheese or a olive oil soaked sun-dried tomato.
If you're not a fan of the idea of sweet onions in your bread you could swap them for chopped marinated olives or diced semi-sundried tomatoes or even some garlic and herbs? It's a very versatile bread so really this recipe is your soda-oyster... er.. doesn't quite work hey?... ah well you get what I mean. I'll be making the a garlic & herb version this weekend to go with Sundays bolognese cook up and who's maybe I'll mast that pesky sourdough this weekend too.
Balsamic Onion Soda Breadrecipe slightly adapted from Gatherings by Flora Shedden
2 large white onions or 3 banana shallots, finely sliced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
20g raw caster sugar
450g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g greek yogurt
Start by preheating your oven to 180C/350F and line a tray with baking paper.
Place the sliced onions into a deep saucepan, add the vinegar and raw caster sugar and over low to medium heat, cook for about 15 minutes. You want the onions to soften first and then almost caramelise so cook until all the liquid in the pan is gone.
Once the onions are caramelised, allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the self-raising flour, bicarb, milk and yogurt into a large bowl.
Gently stir the bread mixture together until just combined, then stir through the (slightly cooled) onions. Try not overmix this – you just need to make sure the onions are evenly dispersed throughout and there are not chunks of flour/wet spots.
Next, dust your prepared tray with flour, then tip the dough on out ontop. To shape your bread, dust your hands with more flour to avoid sticking and gently shape into a round loaf-like shape. To help the bread open out, using a very sharp knife, score the round into quarters.
Bake for 30 - 40 minutes (depending on your oven). Your bread should be golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped on the underside.
Allow to cool completely for neat slices or as Flora Sheddan says: if you are feeling greedy, tuck in straight away, slathering the bread with good salted butter.